Ready to refresh with the family in nature? You're going to love this two-day itinerary, jam-packed with fun and educational activities for the whole family to enjoy. Experience spontaneous, up-close moments with wildlife in their natural habitats, enjoy pristine beaches and explore Victoria's secret island-off-an-island...
Start your day in the fresh air of our Koala Conservation Reserve. Here in this lush, protected eucalyptus forest, you'll spy sleepy koalas high in the treetops, living the lifestyle they deserve to. With your binoculars and camera at the ready, weave through the winding treetop boardwalks to spot as many as you can. Next, head down the accessible woodland trails to explore our furry friends’ bushland home. Look out for echidnas ambling and wallabies hopping by. Both walks are easy, taking less than 30 minutes each. Before you go, don’t miss the interactives inside the visitor centre, where you can hear the sounds of male, female and joey koalas.
Just a 15-minute drive away, another world awaits... a big, icy one! Embark on a virtual journey through the Southern Ocean to Antarctica with the augmented reality and hands-on activities at the Nobbies Centre Antarctic Journey. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and temperatures of this faraway glacial continent. Learn about each of the penguin species that call Antarctica home - to compare with the Little Penguins you'll be seeing later. In the Sound Lab, identify the calls of large underwater species, and at the Research Station, examine tiny specimens under the microscope. Venture into the next room to find a unique photo opportunity, where you can place yourself inside the screen among seals, penguins and orcas.
Time to get the binoculars out! Head down the Nobbies boardwalk to one of Phillip Island's most scenic lookout spots. You'll see Round Island, Purple Island (aka the Little Nobbie and the Big Nobbie) and, in the distance, Seal Rocks - home to one of the largest Australian Fur Seal colonies. You'll also find penguins peeking out from their burrows, birds nesting, echidnas waddling and the blowhole bursting below. Everywhere you look – the sky, horizon and over the clifftops – has a surprise waiting.
All that fresh air really works up an appetite. With some time to spare before the nightly viewing at the Penguin Parade, head into Cowes where you’ll find the streets buzzing with pubs and restaurants. Wander the esplanade for a restaurant with a waterfront view, or head up Thompson Avenue to find an array of fresh seafood, traditional Italian meals and more. For a list of restaurants on Phillip Island, go to Destination Phillip Island’s directory.
After tummies are filled, make your way to the Penguin Parade, ensuring you arrive at least an hour before sunset (check our annual penguin arrival calendar). Make sure you book tickets in advance for a spot in our General Viewing, Penguin Plus or Underground Viewing areas, each offering a different perspective. As the sun begins to set, take your place and enjoy watching the world’s largest Little Penguin colony emerge from the waves. As they waddle onto the beach, count how many waddle past you. Our rangers count the Little Penguins each night and, as you’ll discover, it’s no easy task.
Did you know there’s another island off Phillip Island? Churchill Island boasts scenic bay views and walking trails, a unique mix of wildlife and free-roaming farm animals, a café built on local produce and barista-made coffee, and much more. If the kids are feeling up for a walk, the best way to get acquainted is to take the North-Point Loop trail. This 2.5km stroll takes you to the northern tip of the island where you’ll discover ancient Moonah trees (look for the twisty ones), basalt rocks over 50 million years old, and seabirds of all shapes and sizes. You’ll loop back to the visitor centre just in time for lunch.
There's no shortage of picnic spots on Churchill Island. Set up at an outdoor table to enjoy bay views, or amongst the orchard trees and cottage gardens if you're after some shade. The farm café also has takeaway options for those eager to eat on-the-go while wandering the farm grounds.
Ever imagined what it would be like to be a farmer? Let us show you! Explore the farm to encounter mellow highland cattle, friendly pigs and curious Clydesdale horses. There are daily activities for the whole family to join in – you can try your hand at cow milking, whip cracking, and learn about sheep shearing. Just remember to close the gates behind you, or a farm friend might follow you home!
Unwind at the end of the day by heading to Phillip Island’s popular beginner surf spot, YCW Beach, for sandcastle building and a swim. The beach has long stretches of pristine sand, perfect for exploring rock pools and cooling off in the waves while the sun goes down. Check out our beach safety guide and remember to read the signs before heading down.